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Originally published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:02 AM

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Judge to rule on BP's plea deal over Gulf spill

A federal judge will decide whether to approve an agreement for BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company's role in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Associated Press

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NEW ORLEANS —

A federal judge will decide whether to approve an agreement for BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company's role in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance on Tuesday will either accept the deal and impose the sentence negotiated by BP and the Justice Department, or reject the sentence and allow the company to withdraw from the agreement.

Before ruling, Vance is expected to hear testimony from relatives of 11 workers who died when BP's blown-out Macondo well triggered an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

BP agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the workers' deaths and for lying to Congress.

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